Brothers complete unusual swim around lake
John Evans hardly seemed winded on Monday afternoon as he swam his way up to the dock at the Thunderbird Lodge.
Despite having swam with his brother Matt all the way around Lake Tahoe, his strokes were strong and steady and he seemed to glide effortlessly through the turquoise water below the lodge.
The brothers, who have a family house in Incline Village, have been swimming in Tahoe for a couple years now. They decided to circumnavigate the lake as a fundraiser for two local charities: The League to Save Lake Tahoe and Incline Village’s Pet Network.
On Wednesday, Aug. 9, the Evans brothers set out from the Thunderbird Lodge at about 6:30 a.m. According to Matt, that was the toughest stretch of the six-day trip as the brothers alternated about one-hour shifts of swimming.
When not swimming, the other brother would paddle an inflatable kayak they used to carry their gear. The brothers were almost entirely self-sufficient on the trip, carrying their food and gear in the kayak and camping along the way.
On the first day, the Evans brothers swam 15 miles to Nevada Beach. On the second, they swam nine miles and camped at Emerald Bay, which both brothers agreed was the best stretch of the trip.
“I got to swim Emerald Bay first thing in the morning,” Matt said. “At 7 a.m., no one was there.”
Setting off from Emerald Bay on the third day, the two swam seven miles to Meeks Bay. Day four was nine miles to Tahoe State Recreation Area, and day five was 12 miles to Incline Beach. In Incline, the brothers were picked up and spent the night at home, since camping is prohibited on the beach.
The sixth-and-final day from Incline to Thunderbird was five miles.
Both brothers talked about the natural beauty of the lake as a major plus. Because they swam from about 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day, they avoided the afternoon wind that creates most of the chop on the lake.
Both brothers talked about the sunlight beaming its way through the endless blue of the lake.
“The early morning swims were really enjoyable,” John said. “You could lengthen your strokes and enjoy the sun coming down.”
During the first day, Matt suffered from mild hypothermia and decided to wear a wetsuit for the rest of the swim. His younger brother did the entire circumnavigation more naturally.
“I’ve got to give my brother credit,” Matt said. “He swam the whole thing without a wetsuit.”
The Evans brothers said people along the way were friendly, but they did get some weird looks.
“Everyone at the campsites looked at us funny. We were in bed at 8 every night,” Matt said.
While neither brother has much open water experience, they both swam competitively in college, and competed in the Federation Internationale de Natation Masters World Championships at Stanford two days before circumnavigating Tahoe.
Matt took 12th in the 100-meter breaststroke and second in the 50-meter breaststroke. John took fourth in the 100 breast and third in the 50 breast.
They had hoped to raise $10,000 for both The League to Save Lake Tahoe and the Pet Network for their circumnavigation of Lake Tahoe. They are hoping that the exposure gained by actually finishing the swim will help them reach their goal.